Monday, December 29, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Black Bean and Corn Salad

It's the holiday season and time for holiday parties. I admit, I get a little anxious about attending all these food and wine fests. I love food. I love wine. I am not made of steel!

Between all the cheese plates and warm crab dip, not to mention the bacon-wrapped everything, I falter on my healthy eating lifestyle commitment.

So, I have learned to come armed with my own healthy but incredibly tasty defensive lineup. And trust me, I wouldn't DARE bring some tasteless "healthy" substitute for all that yummy stuff my friends prepare.

My friends are foodies. My friends make the best yummy stuff ever.

First off, if what I bring to the party doesn't taste good, I won't eat it. Period. And no way in hell would I bring something bland or nasty for my friends. That would be embarrassing. Enough said.

So, my Black Bean and Corn salad is not only incredibly healthy for you, it tastes AMAZING, too! Yes, I said AMAZING. I have several variations on this recipe, but this is the basic. You can use all canned ingredients or frozen or fresh. Whatever suits you. Feel free to add other veggies like diced bell pepper, zucchini, etc. It just adds to the party in your mouth.

Only, the beans and corn should be cooked or you may break a tooth or create some gastric distress. *clears throat* That might seem obvious, but just in case...

Anywhoooo....here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 can black beans (or 15 oz. frozen black beans, thawed)
1 cup frozen corn (thawed) I like to use the roasted kind for a little added yum.
1 cup diced tomatoes (either fresh or canned) In season, fresh tomatoes are the best.
3/4 cup Jack's Special Salsa, Medium (Or salsa of your choice, but Jack's is the BOMB)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 drops doTerra Lime Essential oil (alternately you can use fresh lime juice)

Combine all ingredients and let rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours to let the flavors blend.

Serve with tortilla chips.

That is IT! Soooo easy and incredibly flavorful. With this bad boy by my side, I can actually say no to most of the greasy, fried, and otherwise gut-busting party fair.

*For my WeightWatchers pals, 1 cup of this super filling salad is 3 PointsPlus value. Can I get a hallelujah?

I love hearing from y'all, so let me know if you tried this recipe and how it worked out for you. Did you add anything? Subtract anything? Find an interesting use for this recipe besides as a simple dip?


Saturday, December 20, 2014

On Reading Wild and What Pain is Good For

I have to admit up front that I picked up the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed with some trepidation. I've tried to read dozens of books about long-distance hiking adventures and most of them were disappointing. I mean, come on, how can you make such an amazing journey sound so trite and boring? Having hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, over 2100 miles, in six and a half months, I have decided opinions on the matter.

Some accounts I’ve read of thru-hiking my beloved Appalachian Trail feel so numb, as if the pounding of hiking the two thousand miles over mountains and valleys had deadened the author's senses by the time she sat down at the computer to sort through her journey.     

What I've figured out is the experience is incredibly difficult to capture, either in words or pictures. It's just so...huge, intricate, intimate, impersonal, profound, and deceptively simple. I myself have been working on writing down my experience on the AT (Appalachian Trail) for over seventeen years and have yet to find a way to express what it did to me, how it changed me. But I think Cheryl Strayed may have done the best job of writing about a long-distance hike I've ever read.

Now, let me make clear that Cheryl didn’t hike the Appalachian Trail, but the decidedly more remote Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through the Mojave desert and over the Sierra Nevadas. The PCT has it’s own culture, lore, and issues to overcome, as hiker buds who have hiked both the AT and PCT have told me; however, I have no doubt there are fundamental similarities to the impact on the soul. 

I mean, I'm only 85 pages into the book, so I may be wrong, but what I've read so far has pried open my heart. I feel a connection with the author that I know is quite real. I can't read more than a few pages of Wild before I have to put the book down and take a slow, deep breath that takes me into that quiet, still place deep inside where I never left the Trail.

In there, I remember. I don't mean I remember dates and places or even specific events--although if you sit me down with some trail buddies, that all gets sorted through, too--I mean I remember how the trail felt. Because most of what the trail taught me was a kind of wordless wisdom, something I’ve struggled to articulate for years. Inside my quiet place, I feel the sweat trickle down the back of my neck, the hot, sticky, thick air of a heat wave in mid-summer. I feel the puff of warm air that I have to make do with instead of the stiff, cool breeze I'm longing for.

I remember and the images and words come…as Cheryl said "like a god thundering into my head".  This morning as I read about her first real desire to quit--only 10 days down the trail--I remembered my own misery. My bones, muscles, and joints throb with the memories, the ghostly aches and sharp pangs from seventeen years ago when I hiked up and down mountains all day. Pain. Real pain. I remember having no water left and the spring that the guide book promised no where to be found, dried up in the blazing, relentless summer drought. I remember the burning, stabbing pain of blisters on my hip bones that no amount of adjusting or padding would alleviate.

But I hiked on because hiking the Appalachian Trail taught me this: There are miserable, soul-tattering moments in life, but they are just that-moments. And you don't experience that kind of misery unless you're doing something profoundly worthwhile. Those miserable moments are evidence you are making real progress. They mean you are making an effort, that you are making miles. 

I grew to adore maps, especially topographical maps that showed the land contours I had been privileged to get to know intimately that day. No where else, at no other time in my life was it so obvious that my pain and suffering, my bliss and exuberance were NOT meaningless. I could look back over the day's miles and say, "Look what I accomplished today! Look at all those miles over that wicked terrain." I would pass out in my sleeping bag thoroughly content with my day's accomplishment, my aching legs thrumming and twitching like a puppy's.

Here in the "real" world, it's sometimes hard to see where we've been and appreciate the day's hard work. The map for our life hasn't been plotted; we are creating it as we live. We have to rely on word counts, empty or full inboxes, invoices, bank account balances, other's descriptions, and even sometimes on concepts so amorphous they are impossible to describe as evidence of our labors. Because of this, when the misery arrives, it can be difficult to hike on. It often feels like "what in the world am I doing this for? It's downright torturous. There are more enjoyable things I could be doing with my time."

But I submit that the misery is evidence of our hard work. Instead of letting it derail us, even end our journey, we should use it to fuel the fire. Honestly, if we weren't working so hard, it wouldn't hurt so much. We may need to take a day off, lick our wounds, refuel, and recharge, sure, but we don't need to quit. That's not our pain's purpose.

Indeed, pain can be a warning to be careful, that we're crossing some line that we might not want to cross, that we need to change the way we're doing things. But I submit that pain can also be evidence that we are doing something that needs to be done, that we are making personal progress. 

I've given birth, I lift weights, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail and in every instance, pain let me know each and every time that I was on the right path, doing what needed to be done in order for something extraordinary to come into my life.

Okay, back to reading. This may take a while. See you when I’m done the book.

Namaste.



Monday, December 01, 2014

My Last Day on Earth

If someone handed me a microphone and put me in front of an audience on the last day of my life, what would I say to the world?

Let go of the past. 
Free yourself by forgiving those you believe have wronged you. Forgive yourself, too. You're only human after all. Nobody and I mean NOBODY is perfect. By holding on to resentment, regret, guilt, and anger, you are holding yourself back from living the best kind of life.

Be positive. 
All those negative thoughts are just like beating yourself daily. You gain nothing by being negative. You gain energy and freedom by being positive.

Try everything and keep an open mind.
You never know what you're missing out on by being skittish. Of course, don't be violent or cruel. That's not positive.

Love yourself exactly the way you are right now.
No excuses. Whatever you perceive as your flaws are nothing more than the results of your experiences and the coping skills you've developed to well, cope. If you don't like the results, hating them won't help. Start loving yourself and then you will be able to make the changes you want.

Be brave. 
This world is not always friendly, but hiding in a hole scared of what might happen is a crappy way to live. Notice I didn't say "don't be afraid" because that is stupid to say. Of course we are going to be afraid at times. Being afraid is natural and hard-wired into our brains. It's how we survive, BUT we shouldn't let fear rule our lives or make our decisions for us. Be brave and do what you need to do despite the fear. And fear will have less power over you.

Live in the present. 

Enjoy the little things. 

Don't angst over "success" or money. 

Love the one you're with. 

Be kind. 

Embrace your emotions, but don't let them rule you. 
So this goes with the fear thing. It's okay to feel whatever you're feeling: angry, resentful, sad, anxious, happy, proud, wounded. Where we get into trouble is when we feed those emotions and keep them around longer than they need to be. Think of emotions as our barometer. They tell us something about our environment, yes, but actually they tell us more about ourselves than anyone or anything out there in the world. Emotions are our reactions to events, people, things. The issue isn't "He/She/It/That made me feel fill-in-the-blank"; it's "I feel this way in response to he/she/it/that because...." Find out why you feel that way and you will know a little more about yourself, and therefore be one step closer to your heart's desire: to be happy.

Focus on the thing, not the want of the thing.
Whatever it is you want in life, stop focusing on the DESIRE for something and start focusing on the something. You want to be a writer? Write. You want to be happy? Be happy. Easier said than done, you say? Maybe, but I guarantee focusing on the desire and not the object will bog you down in woe-is-me mentality and ruin your damn life. Guaranteed.

Kick perfection's ass to the curb.
And finally, I would say that there is no such thing as perfect, so strip away the idea that there is some pinnacle of existence, the idea that everything will be just right when...fill in the blank. Your life is a master piece, unique, beautiful, sometimes messy, sometimes frantic, sometimes painful, sometimes blissful. Be okay with that and don't take a single solitary moment for granted.

Peace out.

What would YOU say to the world on the last day of YOUR life?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No, It's Not Easy for Me Or How to Workout When You Really Don't Want To

I hear it over and over and over and over..."Oh, it's so easy for you. Look at you. You're so good at getting your workouts in and eating healthy. Must be nice."

Um, no. It's not easy for me. Never has been. What I have done is practice...and practice...and screw up...and get back on the horse...and backslide...and start over...

Until I've created a history of regular exercise and healthy eating that supports a healthy lifestyle.  BUT that doesn't mean I WANT to workout all the time. Take this morning, for example. It's cold here. Like, below freezing cold. I bundled up and headed out to my yurt because that's what I do every morning before the sun comes up, not because I was jumping for joy over the prospect.

I got the heaters going and then meditated (bundled up) until it was time to fix the kids' breakfast and take them to the bus stop.

THEN I had to force my butt back to the yurt and make myself workout.


Eventually, I took off the hat...then the coat...rolled out my yoga mat and got started. I had to practically pry my butt out from in front of the heater, but that's par for the course. It's not easy every day.

One thing that gives me the extra umpfff necessary? Knowing in a few minutes I will be feeling totally different. Why? Because I choose fun music for my yoga practice AND soon I will be sweating and breathing hard. I like that. Why? Well, because I feel good afterwards. I promise, if you get started your mindset will change faster than you might think.


Why am I so excited about this yoga practice? Let me tell you a secret to wanting to come back to your workouts: make it interesting. Why do I love yoga above all other forms of exercise? I'm always working on something. I have goals. I shake it up. Yoga stays interesting to me because I can never perfect it. It's not called yoga perfect. It's called yoga practice and I'm practicing different things all the time. Like this flying bird kriya thingy...


Before you know it, you're lying in savasana, wondering why you were so resistant in the first place.


I absolutely LOVE the feeling after a good workout. I love the way my body feels, how hungry I am, how energized I feel, and most of all, I feel good mentally. If just for a moment.

No, it's not easy for me, but I have learned how to stack the odds in my favor, that I'll actually get a workout in. First, I schedule my workout first thing Monday through Friday. If I get a workout in over the weekend, fine. If not, that's fine too.

Second, if I fail to workout one day, it's not the end of the world. I get on it the next morning first thing. I keep making the effort. I never schedule anything during workout time. Period. Do you schedule appointments when you sleep? of course not.

Third, I set a time limit for my workouts. 60 minutes tops. Usually more like 40 minutes. No exceptions. No excuses, unless its the weekend or I've given myself a special day to play around for as long as I like. Usually, though, I have too much going on for that.

Fourth, I choose workouts that are interesting to me. I'll try new workouts and keep a running list of the ones I really liked. Those are my go tos. I have goals. Whether its learning a new kriya (which can take years of practice, btw) or gaining muscle mass and definition. If you like to run, challenge yourself with distance or speed goals.

Last, I have learned that the rewards of working out FAR outweigh the rewards of sleeping in or sitting on my ass drinking another cup of coffee. Believe me when I say I've done it. I will slip on occasion and do it again. And I will not like the way I feel the rest of the day. I like those things, too, but if I don't workout, I will tend to be more irritable, tired, and anxious throughout the day.

That last lesson is a tough one to learn. It's taken me fifteen years of consistently working out to figure it out. So don't give up. Ever.

And here's my yoga playlist for today's practice...



What is your favorite excuse not to workout?

What's your favorite workout?

Namaste, my peeps.




Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recipe of the Week: My Alternative Universe version of Quinoa-Cranberry Chicken Salad

I love finding healthy, yummy recipes and tweaking them. I know what I like. I have cooking
routines that save me work and the temptation of grabbing unhealthy foods, and I like working new recipes into that routine. It's better to make recipes fit into my lifestyle, rather than making everyone miserable by trying to alter my cooking habits. *clears throat* Enough said about that. I'm perfectly aware I have issues. Moving on...

Hence, my Alternate Universe Quinoa-Cranberry Salad. I found the recipe listed in a clean eating detox post my friend Liz Schulte shared with me.

Here's the link to the original Quinoa-Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe by Jenessa's Dinners.

Here's the deal. I slow cook a couple pounds of chicken breast every Sunday so I have instant gratification protein in the fridge. Seriously. When I get back from a weight training session, I'm liable to inhale the refrigerator if I don't have that chicken handy. So, instead of grilling the chicken in this recipe, I used the slow cooked chicken I already had in the fridge. Makes life so much easier around here.

I also keep packets of seasoned quinoa on hand for quick meals, too. Sooooo, instead of scouring the local grocery stores for red quinoa, as the recipe calls for, I used the Sesame Ginger quinoa I had on hand. Easy peasy, no stress for momma.

The rest of the ingredients were things I keep on hand anywhoooo so that was even easier. Here's how it all worked out in my alternate universe that is Melissa's World.





Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts, slow cooked in crockpot (seasoned any way you like. I use Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tbls. olive oil
3 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1 tbls. lemon juice
1 drop doTERRA Lemon essential oil
1 package Roland's Quinoa - Toasted Sesame Ginger flavor, prepared and cooled
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/8 cup slivered almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

You'll notice that I changed some of the amounts from the original. That's a personal preference thing AND to make this recipe fit my macronutrient requirements.

Instructions:

Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool. Chop chicken into 1 inch cubes. Chop scallions.



Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Lemon essential oil, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend, then add scallions and stir.



When quinoa is cooled, mix all ingredients.

That's it! Ta da! Yummmmmmmm....

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it turned out and what personal tweaks you gave it.

Much love and light to everyone. :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What is Happiness?

I’m not sure. I’m really not.

Is it that feeling we get when we buy something new? I think that’s excitement, but what’s the difference?

Is it that feeling we get when we hug our dog? Or is that love? Contentment? Comfort?

Is it that feeling we get when we kiss our significant other? So why does it not always feel the same? The first kiss is different from the last kiss, isn’t it?

How about when we eat a four course meal? There’s a few moments of euphoria, for sure, but I doubt that’s happiness. Maybe it is for some folks. Later on, I will always always crash, and that feels like crap. By the way, what DOES crap feel like? Never mind. That’s a loaded question.

Is happiness a fleeting emotion? And if so, is chasing happiness much like chasing the perfect high? An endless, fruitless search that leaves us frustrated and dazed? Maybe even brain damaged?

I’ve read that happiness is overrated, that satisfaction is a much better prize. I’ve heard happiness comes from being content with what we have, not coveting or wanting. I take issue with the “not wanting” because its NOT possible not to want. Try it. At least, trying not to want is like trying not to have to pee. Pointless and painful.

Maybe its the TRYING that leaves us wanting and unhappy. Nah. Because trying is important. If we don’t try, nothing will ever happen. Of course, we know what Yoda says: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Hmmmmm…

I have NO answers here. I’m just pondering.

What do you think happiness is?

Do you think its worthwhile to pursue it?

If not, what should we be pursuing, if anything?

Maybe we need to stop pondering all this (not that pondering is a problem, but knowing when to stop is) and just, uh, BE happy.

How?





Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Little Flame Box Set is LIVE! 5 novellas for $2.99

Due to popular demand, the first five novellas in the Little Flame Series are available as a box set for just $2.99 on Amazon for a limited time.

 Available on Amazon

Buy it at Amazon

Fiamette Jurato is on a mission, but she finds herself distracted by a sexy, charismatic DJ named Maximillian. From the moment she lays eyes on him, she's falling down a fast-paced, intoxicating rabbit hole that will either lead to her demise or a revelation. 
Either way, she's enjoying the ride. 

But there's a price to be paid for having too much fun ... or being too happy.

Life may have been lonely for this renegade healer before joining the Maximillian dubstep tour, but it was a hell of a lot simpler. And less dangerous.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Literary Addicts October Blog Hop

It's time for hot cider, crisp, fall days, and lots of reading by the fire--my favorite time of year. It's also time for the Literary Addicts October Blog Hop with lots of fun giveaways, including a grand prize.

I'm always reading something new, but I thought I'd share a few of my recent favorite reads. They are all different genres, but there's something for everyone.

Choose Yourself by James Altucher  is not your typical self-help read. The author is unfailingly honest about his own failures, as well as his successes.

Easy Bake Coven is the first in Liz Schulte's Easy Bake Coven series and its a great paranormal romance series with lots of adventure and intrigue.

Tangled Up in Trouble is the first in Olivia Hardin's Lynlee Lincoln series about a witch who's job it is to clean up magical messes made by magical creatures. The trick is she has to keep it all under wraps so the non-magical folk don't catch on.

Give Me is the first in the Wyrd and Fae series by L.k. Rigel. It's a stunning magical read that takes place in a parallel universe not that different from our own. I must say this book found me at a time when I really needed Rigel's unearthly ability to pull me into another world.

Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan is a red hot read about a Navy SEAL with psychic abilities and his crew as they get wrapped up in terrorism and romance. Read it in two days. Need I say more?

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King is a must read if you've read The Shining. It is Stephen King in his truest form. I'm almost done. Just started reading it two days ago.

The Last One is Tawdra Kandle's latest and a spin off from her book, The Posse. A wonderful contemporary romance I'm enjoying during these autumn days. Such a great story.


Please take a moment to enter my giveaway for a signed paperback of Nine30, the first book in my Little Flame series. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Then hop on over to Literary Addicts to enter the grand prize giveaway including prizes from several awesome authors. Follow the links below to hop around to all the participating blogs. Each blogger/author has included their own giveaway, too.


<a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stephanie Nelson's Gwen Sparks Series Gets a Make Over

If you haven't read Stephanie Nelson's Gwen Sparks Series, now's the time to grab it up. She's just made-over all the covers and they are fantastic!  Check them out!

Craved – Book 1
Gwen Sparks just wants to live a peaceful life in the supernatural town of Flora, but from the moment she reads about the first murdered witch, all hope of peace is abandoned. Possessing the rare ability to read the memories of dead, she volunteers to help catch the culprit behind the string of drained witches. Gwen has to team up with the one man who broke her heart, deal with a ghost who pulls her into the deathly realm at will, and a fight off the advances of sexy but frustrating vampire who not only craves what runs through her veins—he wants her heart.

Buy at









Deceived – Book 2
The vampire drug, brew, nearly ruined Gwen Sparks’ life. Just when things start to get back to normal between her and Aiden, she is summoned by the North American Witches Council to their central city of Moon. A war is imminent between vampires and witches, and Gwen’s spirit walker powers are being used to fuel the fire. She is about to discover just how powerful she is with the help of the ruggedly handsome Angel of Death and just how far some people will go to get what they want. Gwen is going to learn exactly what it means to be Deceived.

Buy at


Coveted – Book 3
Having prevented the war between the witches and vampires, Gwen Sparks was ready to move on and heal. She thought she could go home and her life would return to normal—she thought wrong. 

Being a spirit walker offers her protection, but it also put her life in danger as others covet what she possesses. A bounty is placed on Gwen and rogues, who will stop at nothing to get the job done, relentlessly track her. 

With no choice but to head to New Orleans to retrieve a special dagger, Gwen comes face to face with the angel of Death and the feelings she has been denying. Living in a world where everyone has a motive, can Gwen trust the connection she shares with Dorian Hade?

Buy at

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Love Potion No. 11 - Heroes Who Don't Fail; Damsels Who Don't Distress

LPN11Graphic4    

What do you get when you take eleven awesome paranormal authors, toss them into one box set, and turn up the heat?


Why, you get Love Potion No. 11, of course.


This box set contains ELEVEN full-length novels from eleven authors. And right now. . .for a limited time. . .it's only 99 cents.


Talk about a bang for your buck.


Eleven full length paranormal novels celebrating strong women, sizzling hot heroes, and all the things that go bump in the night.

Secrets by Liz Schulte: 
While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the Abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn't know and sometimes what you don't know can kill you.


The Charmer by Autumn Dawn: 
Jasmine didn’t realize her friend Wiley was special until they were drawn into another world. Here Wiley is betrothed to the ruler of the Haunt, a wererace both dangerous and proud. Keilor is the master of soldiers, a man few would cross, yet he’d never met a menace like the little brunette his princess calls friend. Will Jasmine find the portal home, or will she find a werewolf of her own?

Forever Fae by L.P. Dover:
He leans down, lips parted, and then our lips connect ... We didn't know that this one kiss has FOREVER changed the Land of the Fae. According to the Prophecy proclaimed many years ago, Princess Calista of the Summer Court is destined to change the Land of the Fae from the evil determined to destroy it. Her powers are phenomenal, and she secretly trains for battle with her handsome warrior friend, Merrick, who unbeknownst to her protects her heart as well, in hopes of keeping it for himself. At least, until the seductive Prince Ryder attends the Guardian Ceremony and instantly sends a fire burning through her veins and a connection so deep they both discover a love above anything imaginable.

Stronger Than Magic by Melinda VanLone:
Water can be deadly, in the right hands. In a world of magic, hidden away from those who have no power, Tarian Xannon commands the natural forces of water, air, and fire. As heir to the Dolphin Throne, her job is to learn what it takes to lead—but she'd much rather forget the heavy weight of responsibility in the waves of the ocean. When Tarian is brutally attacked, she faces the shocking reality her talent, while strong, is no match for the demon-like creature. This power play for the throne ignites the Succession Ritual, forcing Tarian to make hard choices about the future of her unborn child, House Xannon, and the very fabric of magical society. As her defenses wane, his attacks grow bolder. All she knows and loves hangs in the balance. Tarian fights not only to keep the throne she thought she hated, but to accept her true place in the world. Will her power be enough? Or are some things stronger than magic?

Give Me by L.K. Rigel: 
A Romance Reviews top pick. All she wanted was a vacation ... but Dumnos offered a new life. Lilith Evergreen has always lived in the California desert, but when she receives an antique ring as a gift, she dreams of a castle by the sea, a magnificent tree at cliff's edge, and a mysterious woman who calls her to Dumnos, a land of mist and rain. Cade Bausiney is the future Earl of Dumnos, but at present he just wants to bolster the local economy with a scheme to increase tourism. When he meets Lilith, a tourist from the other side of the world, his attraction to her is overwhelming ~ but are the feelings real or magically induced?

Taming the Wolf by Stephanie Nelson: 
 Attacked by a wolf while hiking, Anna Avery's life just got a little hairier. Living in the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming, with a group of werewolves who are more animal than human, Anna must try to hold onto her human side. It's not easy when the alpha continues to persuade her into his bed, while another wolf is chomping at the bit to become her mate. To top it all off, dead bodies are showing up and it just so happens that Anna was the last to see them alive. She'll have to work to prove her innocence and taming the wolf who bites first and asks questions never.

Sweet Magic Song by Olivia Hardin:
Belle Bittner was sold to the highest bidder when she was just a child, sought for the magic lying dormant in her blood. She grew up as the adopted daughter of a wealthy vampire couple, and serving the child-trafficking Org seemed her only option in life. But Belle has other plans, and she won’t let anyone get in the way of her escape, even if it means betraying those who try to help her. Desperate to stay free of an evil vampire who means to possess her no matter what, Belle decides she can use the protection of the flirtatious faery named Roon. The two of them flee to the faery realm where Rooney believes he can better protect her. What he doesn’t know is that taking the beautiful siren through the golden door will set off a cataclysm of events that will threaten the fabric of both the human and the faery worlds. Separating myth from fact to decipher the truth about her powers could mean the destruction of the new life Belle’s trying so hard to build.

Enlightened by Melissa Lummis: 
Loti Dupree is about to learn that karma’s a bitch. After her husband’s sudden illness and mysterious death, ominous nightmares and psychic attacks have her running for her life—and straight into the arms of a dark and broody vampire called Wolf. In his world of closely guarded secrets, every answer she uncovers leads to more questions. Sexy distractions teeter between dangerous and too good to quit, while Loti struggles with both losing and finding herself in the arms of this mysterious creature. When the attacks intensify and friends become casualties, she must face the truth whether she wants to or not. Someone out there will stop at nothing to kill her and only the vampire named Wolf and a destiny she isn’t prepared to embrace stands between her and an early grave.

Undeniable by Tawdra Kandle: 
For Rafe Brooks, running from a broken heart means losing himself in alcohol and women. Lots of women, none of whom will remember him, since he has the ability to manipulate their minds and make them forget. Numbing the pain works until he meets an irresistible redhead with secrets of her own. She offers him the opportunity to join forces with an organization that will use his powers for good rather than his own amusement. Jocelyn rocks his world with her unapologetic passion and makes him believe for the first time he just might survive heartbreak. When a mission takes the two of them undercover to infiltrate a commune with suspicious activity, they discover it's just the tip of a plot to cause world-wide anarchy. Hiding their extraordinary powers and real identities is crucial to staying alive.For Rafe and Jocelyn, when life is uncertain, love is undeniable.

Hanna, Hanna, One-and-Two by Myndi Shafer:
Twenty-two year old Johanna Cochrin’s world is broken. Eating mists ravage the plains, and wilder-than-most hunt and kill in all but the most protected lands. Sickness shadows the populace, and the minds of men are slipping. And even though there’s something she would do about it, she can’t. She’s a prisoner. After witnessing her brother’s brutal murder, she’s spent the better part of the last decade in self-imposed silence, hell-bent on taking his secret to the grave. Even if that means living the rest of her life confined in a remote government compound. But when she is kidnapped from that compound, her silence becomes a liability. Annabel Haier, the ruthless dictator of a fragile government, will stop at nothing to see Johanna back in her clutches and sacrificed to a time-altering Device. If Johanna is to survive, she must learn to trust people she has never met and share the secrets she never meant to share. And if she is to discover her place in the world, she must come to terms with her own mortality - a thing that has the power to save, or condemn her broken world.

Divine Destiny by Joanna Grace: 
Avery McClain is normal. Or so she thinks. Until her life is shattered and she is rescued by a Thracian warrior. He takes her to the Haven, a realm of safety for the magical race of Olympians. There she discovers her life was meant for a higher calling as the mate of an Olympian Prince. Her choice will change everything. Ryse Castille has one job: convince Avery to step into her role as a Divine Grace. As with any mission, there are obstacles to overcome. Including the fact he is captivated by her. Of all the gifts the gods have given him, romance was not included. But Avery belongs to him and he will stop at nothing to protect her. The enemy might be closer than they think. Can Avery find the courage to embrace her destiny? Or will evil separate them for eternity?

Buy the set now!

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different blog every day!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Know Thyself OR Bathroom Cleaning Revelations

This week has not been the greatest. This week has been fracking fantastic. Yeah. That's me. Bouncing all over the emotional spectrum. *sigh* I get really sick and tired of it, to be honest, and I try really hard NOT to do it. But why?

Why do I fight myself--my feels? Because I think I'm supposed to be this peaceful yogini, always serene, always calm, always relaxed.

Bwahahaahahahahha! *wipes tears from eyes*

Yeah, right. *rolls eyes* But that is just not me and fighting my nature is the very definition of misery...for me.  Probably for some of you, too. So why do we do it? Torture ourselves over how we feel?

Why do we tell ourselves, "I shouldn't feel this way." Or "What's wrong with me? Why do I get so depressed? Why can't I be happy?"  Or any number of disheartening, cruel things. You know what? It's because that's what we were taught, that we "shouldn't feel" certain ways.

Think about it. When you were say nine or ten, someone in your life--a well-meaning parent or say a teacher--told you you SHOULDN'T feel a certain way about a certain thing. I remember an adult in my life once saying, "Why are you so sensitive? You SHOULDN'T let what other people say upset you so much."

Seems reasonable, doesn't it? I mean, we SHOULDN'T let people rent space in our heads, and that is good, solid advice. Sort of. Here's what's wrong with saying that to a child: it changes their brain. It changes the way they think about emotions. When they hear "you SHOULDN'T feel that way" enough times, they become programmed to believe it.

The thing is once the emotion is bubbling up, there's no real way to stop it. Emotions are chemical reactions in the brain and body. That reaction takes about 90 seconds to run its course. We can't NOT feel it for those 90 seconds. So, being told not to feel it is incredibly frustrating because there is nothing we can do to stop it. We may push it down, but it will come back with a vengeance.

And instead of those uncomfortable emotions ending in the 90 seconds, we create more uncomfortable emotions by battling what can't be defeated. It becomes a vicious cycle. Bad feeling rises, we struggle against feeling it, a new bad feeling arises because we can't stop the bad feeling so we feel bad about ourselves because we SHOULDN'T be feeling these bad feelings.

But trying not to feel something is like trying not to think about something. Try this: DON'T think about a blue baboon playing basketball.  The harder you try, the more difficult it is.  Actually, for me, the harder I try not to feel something, the worse I feel. And the harder I try not to feel it. And the worse it gets. This leads down a very dark path, my friends, of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Even when we escape the "bad" feelings, there's this specter lurking around every corner. In the back of our minds, we're waiting for the "bad" to attack, again. Because, strangely enough, deep down inside we know we can't escape the "bad" feels. They WILL come again.  And even more strangely, instead of embracing this knowledge about ourselves, we resist. We tense, waiting for the inevitable blow. We fight.

We rail against the cruel injustice of it all.

And when this shadow boxing eventually exhausts us, we sag in defeat. :-( And that can lead us to some dark conclusions, because we become terrified of the inevitable. We can't stand the idea of going to that dark place one more time. It all seems so pointless, this endless "stiff upper lip", this endless struggle to find our happy thought.

I wonder if this is at all what Robin Williams experienced. Why he took his own life. I don't know and don't presume to know, but its been on my mind since he died.

But, while cleaning the bathroom this morning, I had a clear, sparkling revelation. As I scrubbed the toilet and wondered how the heck the boys miss the bowl so much, I stopped mid-swipe, utterly stunned with a thought...

What if we let go of our expectations? About how we SHOULD feel, how our lives SHOULD look, and how we SHOULD be in this world?

And more specifically, what if I embraced myself with all my erratic feelings, crazy ups and downs, and stopped SHOULD-ING all over myself?

What if...hang in there with me for a second...what if it's more than okay to feel shitty? What if it's, I don't know, a good thing? Not only would accepting our emotions as is be a relief, it would be liberating!

Holy heck! You mean feeling sad is a natural response to certain stimuli? Wow!

Try this:  Instead of always trying to "fix" what we perceive as "wrong" with us, how about we love ourselves, accept ourselves, and dare I say celebrate ourselves exactly as we are, right this moment, bad feels and all.

And maybe to prevent passing down this misunderstanding about feelings, we rephrase our parents' good advice: We don't have to feel angry or sad or hurt in response to other's actions. We can learn to let things outside of our control go. And with time and patience and lots of practice, we may stop having those emotional response. But in the meantime, when we do feel sad or angry, it's okay. It's just one of many emotions designed to alert us that we need to pay attention. Sit with it. Let it ebb and flow. Don't feed it and don't fight. Let it be. And shortly, it will run its course.

Later, we can spend some quiet time reflecting or researching about that emotion. In some cases, we need a professional to help us sort through it. What are our emotions trying to tell us? Do we need to change something? Or was someone being mean? It's quite natural to be hurt when someone is cruel, but it doesn't say anything about who we are. It does, however, say a lot about the person trying to inflict the pain. Funny how we take responsibility for someone else's cruelty, as if we deserved it.

Give it a try. Let me know how it goes. I love hearing from y'all and sharing in your life.

Namaste.




Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Crown Chakra OR How to Stop being a No Fun for You Nazi

Sometimes, life gets on our nerves and we turn into the Fun Nazi. You know what I'm talking about? As in "No Fun For You"? From the telemarketer phone calls during dinner to the latest jabberwocky rants going around Facebook, there are a zillion things to get our knickers in a twist. When I allow myself to get caught up in these swirling vortices of negativity, it's hard to break the suction and I end up spreading the nastiness.

For example, angry debate is the norm in our culture, but lately the Israeli/Hamas and Amazon/Hatchette ones have flooded my news feed. I've had to step back and step away because my frustration over these issues has affected my peace of mind. I'm snippier than usual and easily irritated, like when my kids started rough housing the other night. They were giggling, shrieking, and chasing each other around, wrestling on the couch. Basically, they were having fun. My reaction?

"Will you two knock it off?! I can't hear myself think! Something is going to get broken or someone is going to get hurt! Get away from each other."

Translation?

"Will you stop having fun with each other?!? Go sit in your rooms and be lonely! No fun for you!"

Bwahahahahahahaha! I can laugh about it because that's exactly what I ended up saying to the kids next. I heard my own words and couldn't believe my over the top reaction. Trust me, I was yelling and it wasn't pretty. Well, we all burst out laughing and in a much gentler tone and lighter heart I informed my progeny that they needed to either take the wrestling match outside or tone it down some.

Don't get me wrong; as a parent, I know there are days when the kids are out of control and they need to be separated, but this wasn't one of them.  I was in a negative place and spewed the caustic slime I'd let build up inside all over my kids.

Ewwwww.

In energetic terms, my Crown chakra is probably out of balance. How do I know? Because some of the symptoms of an unbalanced crown chakra are frustration, irritability, and a disconnection from others. That's just a few. Do a search on Google and you'll find everything under the sun can be blamed on an unbalanced Crown chakra, but there's a reason for that.

The Crown chakra, a.k.a. Sahasrara, is our source of spiritual connection with all things.  It rules our central nervous system, and let's face it, that's everything. It's our perception of ourselves, of the world, others, the Divine, you name it.

Mental disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia are supposed to be a result of a wonky crown chakra. Think about in terms of "breaking with reality" and you'll see how it fits. Other dis-eases traditionally thought of as mental disorders such as manic-depression, anxiety, and depression are considered Crown chakra imbalances and there is a school of thought that says depression is too much living in the past and anxiety is too much living in the future.

So what do I do about this? Here are some ideas for balancing the Crown chakra:

1. Sit in silence.

I recommend an hour per day, but most people give me the "you're a nutty fruitcake" look when I say that, so try 5 minutes to start. And I mean no radio, television, iPod, etc. It's okay to have street noises and the air conditioner hum. Don't try to create a sensory deprivation chamber. Just...sit in silence. That's it. If you want to know more about it, Claudia Altucher did an amazing job explaining why and how in the book The Power of No she collaborated on with her husband James Altucher

So, why does this help balance the Crown chakra? My instincts tell me it's because the Crown chakra is about letting go of the mundane so that we can open up to the spiritual. And sitting in silence, well, helps us to let go in general. It's also great for depression.

2. Declutter

Take 5 minutes out of your day and pick up, put away, giveaway, and throw away. Don't try to "fix" the whole house or office at once. Start creating a daily habit of decluttering your environment.  How does this help? Letting go. Clearing space. All those magazines and receipts and stray socks are distracting whether we acknowledge it or not. Let go of some physical clutter, and it will clear some space in your head.

3. Disconnect from the virtual world and connect with the natural world.

What I mean is silence the cell phone, shut down the laptop, and turn off the television. When the anxiety attack fades, turn to your significant other and have a conversation. Go out in the backyard with your child or take your dog for a walk. Make a cup of tea and watch the squirrels tear your bird feeder apart.

I like to sit on my back deck with a glass of water and watch my own personal version of Wild Kingdom. Any time of day or night, there is a show in progress. One night there was a kerfuffle in the backyard (keep in mind we live a tenth of mile into the woods and are surrounded by tulip poplars and oaks). My hubs ran out on the deck with a spot light and there were a dozen rabbits zipping around like, well, mad hatters.

Then we heard this whisper of wings that we wouldn't have heard at all if they weren't gliding through branches and leaves. The bunnies froze! I mean all at once as if they were playing a game of freeze tag and someone had given the signal. And this owl dived! Next thing, the rabbits scattered in all directions and the owl gave loud chase. Amazing! My heart was thumping. Brilliant.

What were we talking about? Ah, yes. *shakes self* Okay, so how does this help balance the Crown chakra? It helps us to connect with the bigger picture and stop getting mired in the illusion of life we've created. The virtual world is fabulous; please don't get me wrong. I'm writing this for the web from my yurt and here you are reading it from where ever you are. Brilliant!

But we need to make sure we're not lost in the illusions. We need to come up for air and connect with what's real and where we've come from. We like to talk about  being the stewards of nature, but really, we are not above it. We are of it. And we need to dig our toes in the dirt or sand or wiggle them in water once in a while.

You can also wear amethyst jewelry, eat purple foods, and spend some time in meditation to help bring your Crown chakra into balance. There are a ton of ideas out there and I've gathered a few on my Pinterest board, Crown Chakra. I'm always updating and adding so feel free to follow my boards. I have a board for each chakra and a general board for Chakra information, too.

So, I've been spending some time today in silence and plan to continue that practice, as well as disconnect from the virtual world on a regular basis. The decluttering is an ongoing project around here.  Maybe I'll do something with blueberries for dessert tonight.

I'm working on not letting the things in the news and the unkind diatribes on Facebook get to me, but I'm only human and I care about the pain and suffering going on in the world. While there's not a lot I can do about most of these issues, I look for small ways to spread some love and light. That's another good thing to do for the Crown chakra, by the way. Give. Shine your beautiful light. Spread the love.

Be positive. Like when you catch yourself sniping at the kids, let them know you know and make light of it. Stop ranting and start laughing, preferably with someone you love.

Oh, and have some fun!

Recognize any of the things going on with you in this post? Tell me about it. I love hearing from you. Share this post if it spoke to you and tag me. I'd love to connect with you.

Have a beautiful day, my friends.

Namaste

Friday, August 08, 2014

ECHO is LIVE! #5 in the Little Flame Series

Buy ECHO at:






Description:
The 5th installment to the Little Flame Series


Things are heating up fast on the East Coast, and even L.A. may not be far enough away from the impending inferno. Word is the fix is in and I’m about to come head-to-head with my worst nightmare.

Or my dreams are about to come true.

Either way, I still have to figure out if the voices in Max’s head are figments of his imagination or spirits trying to warn him of danger. I’m kind of hoping for the former, because a little insanity I can handle. Ultimate sacrifices and possibly losing the first guy who’s actually cared about me in over 200 hundred years—not so much.

Life may have been lonesome as a renegade healer, but it was a hell of a lot simpler before I lost my heart to the music man.


Get caught up on the series:
#1 Nine30

About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker.  She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer.   And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance.  The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

She lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures.  The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane.  Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum. Namaste, dear friends.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Power to the Readers or the Truth about Hatchette's Campaign against Amazon

Over and over again I have witnessed big corporations and people with influence over the mainstream media mislead the public. Big publishing and Hatchette in particular want you to believe that Amazon is a monster of epic proportions, destroying bookstores and marginalizing the poor, disenfranchised New York Publishers.

They've gone so far as to have high profile authors like James Patterson ask us to petition Amazon to cave to Hatchette's demands. Their "facts" on the matter are dangerously misleading. I can't articulate the facts any better than this letter has already, so I beg all my readership to follow the link below and to read this incredibly well-thought out letter and consider signing the petition. Maybe even pass it along? Hugh Howey, the author of Wool,  posted this on Facebook today and asked everyone to consider signing it and passing it along. I did and I am.


See, the guys with big bucks who can take out full page ads in newspapers and magazines are banking on the idea that you won't bother to dig deep for the truth, that you will believe their propaganda simply because you read it in a big paper or saw it on a mainstream media website.

But we have something mankind has never had before in history: a world-wise (that's not a typo) connection that can spread the truth, blog by blog, tweet by tweet, post by post. Help me spread the truth and for once, stand up for ourselves and not let ourselves be misled and used by the powerful.

Let's turn the tables and take back our lives and the right to read whatever the hell we want and pay reasonable prices for it.

Love and light, y'all.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Carry On My Wayward Son AND Better Chocolate Chip Cookies

While there are tons of things that need to be done around here, I decided a much neglected activity must take precedence: baking cookies. Chocolate chip cookies, to be more precise. Why? Because when asked what treat my children had a hankering for, they freaked out, hollering "homemade cookies and watermelon!" Interesting choices.

The watermelon only needed slicing. The cookies? Well, let's just say that I was on a quest: how to bake a better chocolate chip cookie. I didn't go insane and create my own version of an Alton Brown episode, but I did do a tiny bit of reading. I can't believe how much is on the internet on this subject. Well, yes, I can, considering that these are one of the most popular cookies in America.

I decided not to brown and then chill the butter or bother with mixing ratios of bread flour to cake flour. I stuck to my tried and true recipe: the one on the Nestle Toll House chocolate chips bag. Instead of spending hours experimenting with baking soda vs. baking powder and pouring over all the amateur and professional research painstakingly recorded on blogs, I mixed up the ingredients as instructed.

Supernatural Fandom Princess
Then, when I was ready to start the experiment, I blasted Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas, because, well, my daughter asked me to. She's a huge Supernatural fan. So am I, but a twelve year-old takes fandom to a level I ain't got time for. But I digress. Back to the better cookie experiment...

Because this isn't my first cookie rodeo, I realized the batter was too smooth for the kind of cookie I was looking for: thicker and chewier on the inside with crispy edges. The batter should be more, um, rough looking.  Here. Like this------------->

But, just to be sure, I baked a few test cookies with the batter as-is, and that includes letting it sit on the counter on a warm, June evening.



This was the result of test batch #1.


Notice the cookie is smooth and flat, and a wee bit over brown. According to the advice of several blogs, in order to achieve my better cookie ideal I needed to add a couple tablespoons of flour to "lift" or "leaven" the cookies. So I added two tablespoons of all-purpose flour and carefully folded it into the dough. Apparently, over working the batter created the too-smooth effect in the first place.

                                         This was the result of test batch #2.
Almost perfect.

I added a minute to the baking time and Eureka!

A better chocolate chip cookie. And the taste? Fabulous, darling! Just the right amount of salt to sweet and that great chewy texture highlighted by the wee bit of crunch around the edges.

Oy. My stomach hurts from taste testing.

A few more tips for baking your own better chocolate chip cookie:

1. I noticed the last batch was smoother and flatter than the first, so I recommend putting the dough in the fridge between batches rather than adding more flour. If you keep adding more flour, at some point your cookie will *cough* crumble. That's one dry cookie.

2. Cool your baking sheets between batches. I use two, large air bake sheets, so one is chilling on the back deck with a Margarita while the other is in the oven. That way, your dough doesn't start to melt as soon as it hits the hot metal, which will lead to flat, over-browned cookies. And nobody wants that.

3. Call for taste-testing volunteers or don't eat an entire cookie each time you need to taste. Save your tummy and the bicarbonate.

That's it. Just wanted to share my cookie baking evening. I forgot how much I enjoy baking. I don't bake as much as I used to; watching my carb intake and all, but its still a relaxing hobbie. Grant it, I'm no Betty Crocker. I tend to use simple recipes and forgo all the lavish steps that more accomplished pastry chefs or Susie Homemakers use. Frankly, I just don't have the time or inclination.

But I do appreciate a better chocolate chip cookie. And Kansas. And Supernatural.

Carry on my wayward sons.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Walking on My Road Walkcast Episode #6 - Skrillex and Super Foods

In which I sing my peoples' praises of Skrillex, profusely expound on my profound faith and hope in the new generation, and snivel a little. Geekwalker, be warned. I call you to task.




Saturday, June 21, 2014

Time to Do Nothing or Anxiety Provoking Vacations

We're on our way home from the beach and I was just thinking about how hard it was for me to relax this week. On vacation! It's crazy how I drag my baggage with me everywhere. I worry about deadlines, the dripping faucet back home, book sales, the health insurance premium I'm not sure I remembered to pay, and whether the dog feels abandoned at the kennel this week.

Sheesh! It was enough to make me sick in my stomach and I found it hard to do anything except sit on the porch and stare at the ocean...and drink. And does any of this worry accomplish anything? I doubt it, other then set me up for an ulcer or worse. 

And I've read all the platitudes, all the advice about living in the moment, meditating on the present, practicing letting go. Blah blah blah. Seriously, I get it. I meditate, I practice yoga, I lift weights, I walk for miles, I eat super foods. I still worry.  But I think I'm figuring something out. 

I think all that worry is really about perceiving my life as a cluttered, hot mess. I mean I've bought into the idea that I should be busy if I want to be fulfilled. And also the nasty, soul-sucking idea that I have to have neat, organized, clearly defined and separated life piles. Work. Family. Spirit. Health. Housecleaning. Good citizenship. Pet whisperer. 

I don't know if anyone has the organization skills to keep anxiety at bay when we're overloaded with so much crap. The reality is while I love to make plans and execute them with the best of intentions, as soon as the first shot is fired my carefully crafted to do piles scatter. I have to do lists a mile long that should include the item "feel guilty for not getting all this shit done". 

But here's the break down:

 1) Work pile. 
I'm an author trying to make a living off my books so I feel the need to publish often.  That means a writing schedule, editor deadlines, publishing hoops to jump through, a blog to maintain, be happy and sociable online across many social media platforms, taking criticism on a daily basis about not only my books but the fact that I chose to independently publish, arranging promotional materials, hosting online parties, and generally networking all the time. And that's just what I can remeber off the top of my head. 

2) Family pile.
 I'm married with kids. I have a relationship to maintain with my husband and kids to raise. As a wife, I'm supposed to stay in shape and be sexy and arrange hot dates while teaching my kids how to be happy, confident, well-adjusted adults all while maintaining an immaculate house, keep up with the termite contract, insurance policies, HVAC maintenace, monthly bills, weekly grocery shopping, menu planning, and the other hundred of things that pop up on a daily basis. Oh, and take care of the dog's butt problems. Seriously. 

3) Everything Else pile. 
And somehow I'm supposed to be a real, authentic person pursuing hobbies, reading, keeping up with world events, new local county regulations, politics, environmental crap, which plastics are bad for my family, which fundraiser needs which cupcakes, oh and go out with my friends and have fun too. 

Did I mention the guilt over the things I've had to give up like volunteering at my kids' schools?

Of course I'm a nervous wreck when I pack my bags with the intent of ignoring it all for 7 days. I have bought into the idea that everything will fall apart, break, or otherwise self-implode if I'm not hovering over my life piles, worrying and spinning my wheels in a wasteful effort to keep things afloat that would most likely float on their own. Crap floats, after all.

What I'm learning is that what is important gets done. The rest? Clutter. Don't get me wrong, organizing and planning have merit and are indispensable when trying to live a life and navigate a career. But everything is not that important and the clutter just gets in the way and steals my peace and the energy I need for the important stuff.

Like down time with my family. Like writing my books. Like staring at the ocean and having a beachy drink with good friends. 

Yeah. So that. 

Namaste.


Friday, June 13, 2014

In Which I Answer Your Questions and Hoop!

So, I asked if anyone had any questions for me over on my Facebook fanpage and I got quite a few, so I answered them all in this video. And then I hooped. *covers face* Enjoy, anyways. ;-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why We Fail

First, let me say that failing has gotten a bad rap. When did it become a horrible thing to fail at something? Failure is part of life; EVERYBODY fails. Including yours truly and that know-it-all cousin of yours. And even more important, failure is a necessary part of life. Now, before you go tweeting that Melissa has given up or gone mad, consider the following:

You probably failed the first time you tried to sit up as a baby, but no one gasped in horror and whispered about a wasted life. At least, I hope not. And then you tried again...and...again, until one day you made it. For about five seconds and then you toppled over. 

You probably fell over a lot those first few months trying to master the fine art of sitting up and staying up. Heck, I've fallen over once or twice since then myself. But you never gave up and no one ever, ever thought to tell you it was time to give up. Again, at least I hope not.

So failure, once upon a time, was expected and accepted. We were encouraged to keep trying because it was the only way to strengthen our muscles so we could eventually sit up...and crawl...and walk. You get the idea.

So what happened? When did we became afraid to fail? When did it become shameful to try and not succeed? We probably shame ourselves more than any one person, but I know people who like to point out others failings as if it proves something is wrong with them.

But failure is actually a symptom of effort. Failures are the people who don't give up after just one failed attempt...or 100. Failures keep trying new things until they succeed. And I for one am proud to count myself as one. I'm in good company, too. Some famous failures are Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Micheal Jordan, the Beattles, and Eminem.

So ultimately we fail because we take a chance on new ideas, we step outside our comfort zone, and in general, because we try.

If you've never failed, you've never tried anything new. 




Friday, June 06, 2014

LimeLight - #4 in the Little Flame Series is HERE!

Buy LimeLight at:





Coming soon to
Kobo


Description:
The 4th installment to the Little Flame Series


The Big Apple is the next stop on the Maximillian Dubstep tour, and I’m about to bite off more than I can chew. A new friend is asking for the kind of help I’m not sure I can give.  Saving his dying son is going to cost me, but I’d do it in a heartbeat if my life were the only price.  But, I’m about to learn that there are worse things than dying. Falling in love, for one.

I've faced blood, pain, and even excruciating loneliness, but nothing has prepared me for the choices I’m about to make. Death? Pfft. Child’s play.


Love is a far scarier thing.

Get caught up on the series:
#1 Nine30
#5 Echo available for pre-order at iBooks; Release Date 7/30/2014

About the Author
Melissa Lummis considers herself a truth seeker, a peaceful warrior, a paranormal and fantasy writer, an avid reader, a thru-hiker GAàME ’98, a Penn Stater, a wife, a mother, and a free thinker.  She believes the universe conspires to help an adventurer.   And if we live our lives as if it is a daring adventure (and it is!), then everything we need will find its way to us.

Her books have been described as new age suspense in a fantasy setting, but they are also straight up, steamy Paranormal Romance.  The Love and Light Series is currently available at most ebook retailers, as well as the Little Flame Series, a spin off focusing on the character Fiamette from the Love and Light world.

She lives in rural Virginia with her husband, two children, an Alaskan Malamute, and a myriad of forest creatures.  The nature of her mind dictates that she write to stay sane.  Otherwise, her fertile imagination takes off on tangents of its own accord, creating scenarios and worlds that confuse the space-time continuum. Namaste, dear friends.